The Must-Haves of Strong Female Characters in Thrillers

Strong women are taking over the genre of thriller. Over the past years, literature has seen a surge in the popularity of thrillers with strong female characters. In comparison to the past when thriller was exclusively a genre of strong men, thrillers nowadays are becoming more and more inclusive of women. In fact, some of the best-selling thriller books in the market today feature female leads. Books such as Paul Shemella’s Jungle Rules Trilogy, Stieg Larsson’s Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale are changing the face of thriller with their female characters.

There is more than one way to describe a strong woman. Strong female characters can encompass numerous different types of women, with varying opinions on what it means to be ‘strong’. In essence, however, strong female characters are those whose characteristics break the female stereotype. They do not subscribe to the stereotypical portrayal of women, which describes them as weak, gullible, and emotional human beings. The increasing popularity of thrillers with strong female characters has paved the way for a new brand of women to flourish in the literary world. If you are a thriller author who is planning to write a strong female character, then this article is especially for you. Below are some of the must-haves of strong female characters in thrillers that you need to keep in mind.

Tough Personality

Almost every strong female character in thrillers possesses a tough personality. Having a tough personality basically means that one is strong and determined. She can tolerate any difficulty or suffering that comes her way. Specifically, however, there is more than one way to define a ‘tough’ woman. For some people, the toughness of a female character primarily refers to her physical ability to bring down her enemies. For others, on the other hand, a female character who possesses the ability to think fast under pressure can also be considered tough. Regardless of however you define it, the most important thing is that you create your character in such a way that she appears strong and determined. She must have some flaws and struggles just like everyone else, but what should set her apart from the others is her strong characteristics. More so, she should be determined to deal with her shortcomings.

Sense of Independence

A strong female character is usually an independent woman. She has her own identity and opinions. She does not necessarily have to be single, of course. A female character in a relationship can also be considered independent so long as she has the ability to think for herself. In essence, an independent female character is someone who is not weak and dependent on others. She has her own identity, and she follows her own ambitions and goals. More so, an independent female lead listens to her instincts. She knows how to make her own decisions based on her own belief system. In thrillers, particularly, strong, independent female characters are often opinionated and smart. They believe in themselves, and they are not afraid to speak their minds out.


More often than not, strong female characters in thrillers are also charismatic. Their charisma is what makes them convincing and admirable to the readers. A charismatic female character is basically a woman who possesses an aura or presence that can attract anyone. She often appears confident in many aspects, including her appearance, intelligence, and skills. When you read about a charismatic woman, there is a tendency for you to be hooked to her character. You would admire her and be invested in her story. To put it simply, a strong, charismatic female character is someone who knows how to draw people into her world. So, to make your female character appear strong, you might need to stuff her with charisma.

Ultimately, strong female characters are those characters who do not allow themselves to be subjected to the stereotypes of women in old literature. They possess the personality and characteristics of a woman whom girls and boys alike can look up to. Indeed, these female leads have changed the face of thriller. With the increasing popularity of thrillers with strong female characters, the genre is no longer an exclusive domain of tough men. Today, women are already breaking down the barriers. They are no longer just the weak, gullible, and emotional characters who are always sidelined in the story. They are now the strong female characters.



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